Court rules in-your-face protest against deputy PM was not a threat

Magistrates deem doorstep demonstration over evictions permissible as “democratic expression”

A Madrid court has ruled that a protest against home evictions held outside the home of Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría in April of last year should be regarded as a “common mechanism of democratic participation of civil society and an expression of the pluralism of the public,” judicial sources said Tuesday.

The court threw out an appeal by the state prosecutor’s office against an earlier decision to shelve a case brought against the organizers of the protest, the Mortgage Victims Platform (PAH).

The judges said that while no warning of the hastily arranged protest in the capital — a practice that is known in Spain as an escrache, an neologism coined in Argentina where it became popular — had been given, it was also true that there were no violent incidents during the 20-minute demonstration. They said the protest could not be considered as a threat to the minister because there were no indications that the protesters intended to cause harm to her.

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